verb (used with object)

to perceive or recognize by or as if by the sense of smell: to scent trouble.
to fill with an odor; perfume.

verb (used without object)

to hunt by the sense of smell, as a hound.

Origin of scent

1325–75; (v.) earlier sent, Middle English senten < Middle French sentir to smell < Latin sentīre to feel; (noun) Middle English, derivative of the v. Cf. sense
Related formsscent·less, adjectivescent·less·ness, nounnon·scent·ed, adjectiveout·scent, verb (used with object)o·ver·scent·ed, adjectiveun·scent·ed, adjectivewell-scent·ed, adjective
Can be confusedcents scents sense

Synonyms for scent

1. See odor. 7. smell, sniff. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for scentless

inodorous, deodorant, flat, scentless, unscented

Examples from the Web for scentless

Historical Examples of scentless

  • Hastily, in search of scentless paper, the fat woman made off.

    The Paliser case

    Edgar Saltus

  • Thus you are scentless, roses of Bengal; All others' perfume is bright light in you.

    Life Immovable

    Kostes Palamas

  • The pansies looked erect And scentless, wrapped in thought: by them, I stopped.

    Life Immovable

    Kostes Palamas

  • And her face above it, chaste, serene, was like the scentless summer evening.

    The Island Pharisees

    John Galsworthy

  • They are not curious in colors, and do not know which flowers are fragrant and which are scentless.

    Last Words

    Juliana Horatia Ewing

British Dictionary definitions for scentless



a distinctive smell, esp a pleasant one
a smell left in passing, by which a person or animal may be traced
a trail, clue, or guide
an instinctive ability for finding out or detecting
another word (esp Brit) for perfume


(tr) to recognize or be aware of by or as if by the smell
(tr) to have a suspicion of; detectI scent foul play
(tr) to fill with odour or fragrance
(intr) (of hounds, etc) to hunt by the sense of smell
to smell (at)the dog scented the air
Derived Formsscented, adjectivescentless, adjectivescentlessness, noun

Word Origin for scent

C14: from Old French sentir to sense, from Latin sentīre to feel; see sense
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for scentless



late 14c., sent "to find the scent of," from Old French sentir "to feel, smell, touch, taste; realize, perceive; make love to," from Latin sentire " to feel, perceive, sense, discern, hear, see" (see sense (n.)).

Originally a hunting term. The -c- appeared 17c., perhaps by influence of ascent, descent, etc., or by influence of science. This was a tendency in early Modern English, cf. scythe, and also scite, scituate. Figurative use from 1550s. Transitive sense "impregnate with an odor, perfume" is from 1690s. Related: Scented; scenting.



late 14c., "scent, smell, what can be smelled" (as a means of pursuit by a hound), from scent (v.). Almost always applied to agreeable odors.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with scentless


see throw off, def. 3.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.